A documentary about shopping malls, Malls R Us screens tonight at 7 and at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1 at the Cleveland Museum of Art Lecture Hall. Here is our review of the movie.
Malls R Us
(France/Canada, 2009) This documentary commences with the premise that malls offer shopping “as a communal activity to fill the void.” Not exactly a revelation. The film begins at the largest mall in North America, a sprawling 170-acre place in Edmonton, Canada. There are 840 stores designed to keep shoppers there as long as possible. Between showing clips from Dawn of the Dead
and featuring interviews with infamous mall creators like Rubin Stahl and Sheldon Gordon, the movie provides a good overview of mall culture. Hell, there’s even a short segment with sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury, who discusses the disorienting nature of most malls. And of course, when it comes time to visit dying malls, the filmmakers head to Cleveland to see the now-shuttered Randall Park Mall. You gotta admire the global perspective: The filmmakers go to India to see tracks of green space turned into retail areas and visit Paris to interview shoppers. But too much of this documentary simply states the obvious. ** 1/2